Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, SmartBear Blog, Ed Featherston, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Microservices Expo

Cloud Security: Article

After WikiLeaks, What's Next for Document Compliance Management?

A discussion with Brainloop CEO Peter Weger

The WikiLeaks security fiasco has shed a lot of light on document security and its inherent irony: namely that the more confidential a document is, the more it's likely to be shared. Web Security Journal reached out to the CEO of Brainloop, Peter Weger, to discuss document compliance management as a risk mitigation strategy.

Web Security Journal: What security issues do you see becoming more pervasive in the coming months?

Peter Weger: A frequently unaddressed challenge is that companies’ most confidential documents are often those that travel the most outside the enterprise. Business depends on sharing information in collaborative processes like coordination among board members; working with research, supply and distribution partners; and communications with outside experts such as external counsel, consultants, auditors and regulatory authorities. However the more a document has to be accessed outside the corporate network, the greater the risk of leakage, so a company’s most sensitive documents are at much greater risk than other documents.

Web Security Journal: How do most businesses enable collaboration today?

Email continues to be the most common method used for information sharing and communication. Organizations tend to collaborate through this ubiquitous technology, sending emails to their employees, partners, suppliers and customers. These emails, of course, include content, attachments and links, some of which contain sensitive information.

To supplement email functionality, individual departments sometimes acquire Cloud-based collaboration applications, often without advice from corporate IT on the selection, vetting or implementation of these services. These systems provide rudimentary content storage, distribution and work flow that email lacks.


Web Security Journal:
Where do the current methods fall short?

Weger: To state the obvious, email was not designed to be a real-time, multi-user, secure collaboration system. We know that email makes it extremely easy for security policies to be bypassed. A simple “reply all” can find an employee, either unintentionally or maliciously, sending sensitive information to one or more unintended recipients. Email and any attachments that arrive at the recipient’s mail client could be forwarded to other parties that may not have the right or need to view the information. In this latter instance, the organization that owned the data may never find out that this unexpected data sharing activity took place.

Most commercially-available Cloud-based collaboration offerings were purpose-built with a simple, primary objective of sharing information; security became an afterthought for most products. This becomes a serious risk when you consider that these products typically leave the control of the policy and access to the data in the hands of the collaboration solution provider. Some of the top-performing solutions have attempted to wrap security around the content in such a way that end users can apply document protections, requiring them to define the classification and sharing policies themselves. Of course, by putting the decision into the hands of end users with no experience in defining policy, and without the perspective of the company’s central policy standard, poor decisions could be made and sensitive data still exposed to unauthorized access and misuse. Organizations with hundreds of users have no way to ensure consistent application of security measures. In addition to putting their own documents at risk, using unsecure collaboration applications may result in companies violating their contractual obligations to protect their partners’ confidential information.

To address some of these risks, organizations continue to make significant investments in the various perimeter security technologies designed to prevent information from leaving the organization. Some of the technologies used include firewalls, network intrusion prevention systems (IPS), data loss/leak prevention (DLP) and more. The main problem with this ‘protect the perimeter’ approach is that these products focus on protecting at the infrastructure layer, not on the information itself, which must travel outside the network in order for the company to function. This effectively still leaves the user in control of the information’s destiny, which usually leads to the dangerous choice of expedience over security.


Web Security Journal:
What is DCM and how does it fit in?

Weger: Document Compliance Management is a discipline that proactively manages information risk arising from sharing documents electronically.

As organizations move more of their information management processes outside the firewall to the extended enterprise, end users’ demands for collaboration come into conflict with corporate demands to protect information through consistent policy application and control over distribution. DCM seeks to reconcile these demands by creating security provisions that move with documents throughout their lifecycles, both inside and outside the network.


Web Security Journal:
What are some of its applications?

Weger: Organizations that are struggling to collaborate while meeting their regulatory, compliance and governance requirements are grappling with the issues Document Compliance Management addresses. Ultimately, these organizations want to collaborate and transact securely within their communities of trust. Regulatory auditors will look for a complete audit trail that captures the entire lifecycle of the organization’s sensitive information; who had access to which documents at which point in time.

Consider the scenario in which inside counsel is required to work with outside counsel, each sharing sensitive legal documents with their counterparts on the other end. They need to maintain control over their documents after they have left the corporate network and they are required to keep a full audit trail of all document activity. They may deal with documents of varying levels of sensitivity, and need an easy way for end users to apply the appropriate controls to each document.

Another example is the Human Resources team collaborating with healthcare providers, financial services providers, state and federal tax entities, and more. Again, the documents need to be shared with trust and a full audit trail must be available to ensure that employees’ personal information has been protected as it passes to external parties. Some key components of this audit trail must document which information has been provided to which business partner, and whether or not they were able to print it, save it locally, or forward it to other people.


Web Security Journal:
Why not just block all access by default?

Weger: Looking historically at security, most responses to attacks, breaches or compliance exceptions have been to shut down the operation or block the action. Years ago, when organizations experienced viruses running wild through their email systems, they simply shut down email until the problem was resolved. If they were worried about data leaving via USB sticks, they would blanket block the use of USB ports throughout the entire organization. We see this same model being applied to data protection within the collaboration space -- classify data as being sensitive and block it from being shared.

This model fails miserably. A block-by-default policy goes against the business models of today, which rely on employees, partners, suppliers, legal counsel, and other outside parties who must collaborate with each other using sensitive information.

Therefore, the main goal for DCM is to provide a secure means for end users to collaborate within corporate and regulatory policy for all approved parties, both inside and outside the organization. Corporate policy makers should risk rank business processes, define security policies and classifications, and roll them out to end users in a secure collaboration platform. This would ensure the proper use of documents, doing so in a way that is easy and transparent for the end user, without putting the end user in the unenviable position of having to make policy decisions. It must be simple enough that users will be comfortable doing their jobs within the systems they are already familiar with, as opposed to working around a protected system that is blocking them from collaborating.


Web Security Journal:
What should an organization consider when implementing DCM?

Weger: Organizations should try to include these features in their own DCM programs:

  1. Centralized data classification, policy definition, and policy enforcement capabilities
  2. Enables end users to do their job without having to think about security, doing so without making them work outside of their existing business processes
  3. Is flexible enough to support a variety of business processes to prevent the proliferation of disparate point solutions, and can be easily integrated with the company’s existing ecosystem.

Organizations tend to focus on the tactical problems they face with data protection and often look to solve them with technology delivered by their traditional perimeter security vendor. If an organization really wants to be successful in enabling secure business collaboration, they must approach the problem at the document/information level; develop a plan to define and enable their end users, partners, and others to securely collaborate within the boundaries of their internal and/or regulatory constraints.

More Stories By Peter Weger

Peter Weger is CEO of Cambridge, Mass-based Brainloop, a document security vendor. He has 25 years of management experience at companies such as Software AG, Portal Software, Borland and Network Associates. \

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...